Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Must See TV

A shout out to Chuck Lorre who used his vanity card at the end of both Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men last night to say:

United We Stand

Chuck's show-runner end-cards have been must-see-TV since we became aware of them during the end-credits of Dharma and Greg. We met him at the Writers Guild Craft Conference around 10 years ago and his presentation was hysterical. At the time, he had professionally successful and personally stressful runs on Roseann and Grace under Fire and I can't remember where Sybil fell into the scheme of things. Big Bang Theory is my favorite new show this season, and we have noticed that several of the supporting cast of Roseann have already appeared on the show--not to discount that one of the leads of BBT is also a Roseann alumnus. Chuck Lorre is a major show runner and I admire him for letting the viewing world know where he stands on the WGA strike.

Another shout out to our friends Lynn M. Latham, who was running the soap opera The Young and the Restless, and her husband Bernard Lechowick. They both survived the 1988 strike and are prominent in this one as well. I saw Bernard quoted in the L.A. Times and I hear Lynn's office is now occupied by a Sony exec who's trying to fill her shoes. Not likely. Len came in to tell me that the writers on some soap opera have elected to go "core" and cross the strike line. Shame on them.

For anyone who might not be aware, it isn't just writers, directors, and actors who get residuals. As far as I know, every below the line union also gets residuals. Instead of going to individuals, the residuals cut goes to help fund pension and health programs. As expenses for medical coverage go up, that money is more necessary than ever. Even though I am unlikely to ever see a benefit, I do belong to IATSE Local 600 and I am incredibly angry that I, and every member of my guild, got a letter informing us that our working membership would get no support for honoring picket lines. Thanks a lot.

The WGA isn't holding a grudge about the IATSE response. It has already sent a letter in support of the IATSE stage hands who are striking in New York. That strike hits another member of my family: my niece Kristina Valada-Viars had just started 16 weeks of employment understudying one of the major characters in August: Osage County which was in previews and set to open on November 20. I'm hoping for a quick solution to that strike so my niece will have health insurance next year.

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